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Thread: George Henry Bernard Stephenson Sgt Pilot AND(!) Met Forecaster

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    Default George Henry Bernard Stephenson Sgt Pilot AND(!) Met Forecaster

    Hello All,
    The legendary George Henry Bernard Stephenson was a uniformed Met Forecaster in (and after) WW2. He was legendary for his use of industrial strength Anglo-Saxon phraseology when the weather was not behaving itself!
    I have his BMD details. I have his LG Commissioning (142755 on 1 Apr 43), etc, details.
    A colleague has just told me that George started his connection with meteorology as a Sgt Pilot flying Halifaxes on Met Recces out of Ballykelly. But his BMD data indicates that he was, up until 1938 at least, a teacher. Many teachers ended up as RAFVR (Met Branch) during WW2 so that fits.
    His Commissioning does not show any previous Enlisted Service Number. And Commissioning as Fg Off indicates that he had been a Forecaster for some time.
    I cannot find which Unit flew Halifaxes on Met Recces out of Ballykelly prior to 1 Apr 43.
    Can anybody help with his possible inclusion in AIR 78?
    And does the Halifax/Ballykelly bit hang together?
    Any help gratefully received.
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Operational Met Halifaxes were never based at Ballykelly, Peter. 1405 Met Flight, based at Aldergrove, were equipped with Blenheims, later Hudsons, for medium range met reconnaissance sorties from the Spring of 1941. 1405 Met Flight merged with 1402 Met Flight during the early Spring of 1942, the new unit being designated 1402 Met Flight. 1402 Met Flight ceased flying medium range met reconnaissance during September 1943 when the responsibility was assumed by 518 Squadron at Stornoway. (On paper 518 Squadron formed during July 1943.)

    Initially 518 Squadron's flights were very irregular and this state of affairs lasted until at least November. I'm unable to see Stephenson's name in the September to December 1943 ORBs.

    Brian

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    Further to my last, Peter.

    As you have indicated, Stephenson must have been a forecaster to have been commissioned in the Met Branch on 1 April 1943. Had he previously been a Sergeant pilot his OR rank would have been stated in the London Gazette. So far as I can determine 517 and 518 Squadrons did not start converting to the Halifax until the late summer of 1943 (520 in February 1944) so, if he was commissioned in April 1943, he could not have been a Sergeant pilot flying met reconnaissance sorties.

    Brian

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    Brian,
    That's the way I see it too! I think my correspondent may possibly be confusing (a) a Stevenson, with (b) a Stephenson, and (c) whether either/or was (d) Pilot, MAO, or ground-based Forecaster?
    TFD
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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